STV – Scottish Television 

Scottish Television, now known as STV, took over ownership of the Theatre Royal in 1957, converting the theatre space into three studios.

The theatre was reopened as the home of STV on 31st August 1957, by Scottish born Hollywood star Jack Buchanan. The first STV show broadcast that night was This is Scotland, which marked a grand introduction to independent television north of the border with 750,000 Scots tuning in to watch.

In the period that STV owned the theatre, the number of television sets owned in Scotland more than doubled, as traditional variety entertainment made its way from the theatres into people’s homes. STV produced many popular programmes at the Theatre Royal, including The One o’clock Gang, The Francie and Josie Show, Cartoon Cavalcade, Jigtime, Round Up, Scotsport, as well as branching out into filming on location and the new territory of outside broadcasting.

On the 3rd November 1969, tragedy struck the Theatre Royal when the STV studios caught fire. The blaze burned for hours, and tragically the life of a fireman was lost whilst trying to put out the flames. Following the fire, STV moved some production to its Edinburgh Gateway studios, but filming began in the Theatre Royal within weeks – yet it was never to be the same.

In 1974 the theatre was sold to Scottish Opera, ending STV’s attachment with the Theatre Royal. The theatre had played an important role in transforming the entertainment industry in Scotland, and returned to its original purpose as a performance space.

Content courtesy of STV.